CHICAGO | Zack Greinke silenced his South Chicago blues Wednesday night in helping the Royals rebound from a tough opening loss with a 2-0 victory over the White Sox.
Relievers Juan Cruz and Joakim Soria completed a three-hit shutout at U.S. Cellular Field. The three-game series concludes at 1:05 this afternoon.
The Royals needed the strong pitching performances because they managed just two runs for the second straight game. This time, it was enough.
Greinke, 1-0, had little trouble in his six-plus innings. He allowed just three hits, all singles, while striking out seven and walking three in a 95-pitch performance.
It was especially impressive because Greinke has never had much luck here. He entered the game at 0-6 with a 7.78 ERA in eight previous games at The Cell — along with 10 homers in 37 innings.
Greinke exited after Jermaine Dye opened the seventh with a line single to center. Cruz retired the next six hitters and sent the Royals into the ninth with a 2-0 lead.
Soria breezed through a one-two-three ninth for his first save.
It all represented a nice bounce-back victory after Tuesday’s disappointment when the White Sox rallied Tuesday for a 4-2 victory. Jim Thome hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning against Kyle Farnsworth that spoiled a strong seven-inning performance from Gil Meche.
The Royals built their lead against Chicago starter Gavin Floyd, 0-1, by scoring single runs in the third and fifth innings. Floyd surrendered just six hits in his seven innings. He struck out nine and walked two.
It wasn’t good enough.
Floyd retired the first eight Royals before successive two-out doubles by Mike Aviles and Coco Crisp produced the game’s first run in the third. Aviles hammered a drive over the head of center fielder Dewayne Wise before Crisp one-hopped the wall in right-center.
The Royals missed a chance to expand their lead in the fourth after loading the bases on a single and two walks. Floyd wiggled free when he induced Miguel Olivo to wave at a 2-2 slider that darted out of the strike zone.
Another opportunity nearly slipped away after Aviles’ leadoff single in the fifth. He went to second on a wild pitch and to third on a sacrifice by Crisp. David DeJesus took a third strike, but Mark Teahen yanked an RBI single into right for a 2-0 lead.
It was all they got and, it turned, more than they needed.
The White Sox put their first two batters aboard in the second inning, but Greinke induced a double-play grounder from Paul Konerko before retiring A.J. Pierzynski on a grounder to first.